The Affordable Care Act has had a run of PR wins lately—from the news that eight million people signed up for insurance on the ACA federal exchange to the CBO study that found that Obamacare could cost $100 billion less than expected. None of these “victories” were as straightforward as the media presented them, but supporters have been congratulating each other anyway.A new poll on several close Senate races in the South isn’t all good news for the law’s backers in Congress, however. Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, and Senator Kay Hagan of North Carolina will have to contend with significant opposition to the ACA within their own party. Though all three are at least nominally ahead of their Republican opponents in the poll, they could lose that lead if Obamacare is truly a make-or-break issue for voters, as the NYT’s Upshot suggests:
Mr. Pryor has a 10-point lead, according to the poll, but 16 percent of Mr. Pryor’s supporters — or 8 nearly percent of all voters — oppose the Affordable Care Act and say they could not vote for a candidate who disagrees with their stance on the issue. Mr. Pryor, of course, voted for the Affordable Care Act. If those voters flip, his opponent, Representative Tom Cotton, will have the advantage.Other Democrats face a similar challenge: In every contest, at least 10 percent of Democratic supporters oppose the Affordable Care Act and say they wouldn’t vote for a candidate who disagrees with their stance. All four Democratic Senate candidates in these states support the law.
Again we’re talking about Democrats here, not Republicans. The 10 to 16 percent of Democratic voters who oppose the ACA may be only a small percentage of the eventual turnout, but that could be enough to swing the vote in these states. Four years after his signature domestic legislation passed, and after several rounds of patchwork extensions and exemptions, President Obama still hasn’t persuaded enough of his party of the law’s merits to see his people safely through the midterms.